The new version of last year’s Seahawks could be NFC West rival

Jun 19, 2023, 2:04 PM

Seattle Seahawks Rams Cooper Kupp...

Rams WR Cooper Kupp reacts after a catch against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 21, 2021. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

There weren’t high hopes for the Seattle Seahawks at this time a year ago.

The Hawks had disappointed in 2021, finishing with a 7-10 record and missing the playoffs for just the second time in 10 years. Following that unexpected step back, Seattle parted ways with franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, sending him to Denver in a blockbuster trade that many thought signaled the start of a painful rebuild.

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The 2022 Seahawks silenced the doubters, of course, pulling off a surprising 9-8 season and return to the playoffs led by quarterback Geno Smith, who became a Pro Bowler in his first full season as a starter in eight years.

Now the Seahawks go into 2023 as one of two favorites to win the NFC West, the other being the San Francisco 49ers, who reached the NFC Championship Game last season. Are there any other teams in the division that could make a run, though?

Brock Huard was asked that question Friday when the former NFL QB and current FOX college football analyst joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy, and he agreed with the premise.

“I’m wondering if it’s going to be a three-horse race,” co-host Stacy Rost said.

Replied Huard: “Yeah, I’m not dissing and diminishing the Rams quite yet.”

Could the Rams be this year’s version of the 2022 Hawks?

The Los Angeles Rams are in a similar position to the Seahawks last year, albeit to an even more dramatic level. Though they won the 2021 Super Bowl, injuries mounted last season and the wheels fell off for LA, which finished 5-12 and was out of the playoff race early.

Yet even with several notable departures (Bobby Wagner back to the Seahawks, Jalen Ramsey to Miami, UW Huskies alums Greg Gaines and Taylor Rapp), key names remain for the Rams, including Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford, All-Pro wide receiver and Yakima native Cooper Kupp, three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, and head coach Sean McVay.

Huard sees a lot in common between the Rams now and the 2022 Hawks.

“The fact that McVay came back and made some staff changes, we just saw this happen in Seattle, right?” Huard said. “Everybody last year (said about the Seahawks), ‘They’re going to be terrible. They’re the 30th-ranked team. They lose Bobby, they lose Russ.’ And it’s like, ‘Hold on a second. They still still got some pieces. Tyler (Lockett) and DK (Metcalf) are pretty good, you know.’ And Cooper Kupp and some of that (Rams) receiving corps, pretty good. And that Aaron Donald guy is still there and is still the single most dominant player in the league defensively when healthy.”

The Seahawks likely aren’t discounting the Rams considering how tough they’ve played them throughout the years, too.

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“They’ve been a nuisance matchup-wise for these Seahawks and Pete Carroll under McVay’s tenure,” Huard said. “So yeah, I’m not shorting those guys and slighting them by any means. They don’t have the depth on the line of scrimmage, certainly (on) the secondary they lose people, so I would still give the nudge to Seahawks. But by no means with Matthew Stafford am I saying they’re totally done. And kinda like Seattle and Geno, I think there’s a little motivation. I think there are some haters out there writing that they’re done, and I think that (Stafford) and the rest of that talented crew may want to rewrite some of that script.”

Listen to the whole Bump and Stacy conversation with Brock Huard at this link or in the player near the top of this article.

More on the Seattle Seahawks

The Legion of Boom star Huard sees in rookie Devon Witherspoon
Salk: Seahawks look like they’ve found the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ again
Huard: The better comp for Geno than Rich Gannon
Lefko: Seahawks’ best and worst case scenarios for 2023
Huard: Two words that sum up the Seattle Seahawks’ offseason

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